STILL HUMAN is Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal’s 5th chapbook for Kendra Steiner Editions. The Los Angeles-based poet, widely published in the alternative poetry world, is one of the most respected American poets among his peers, and once again he’s brought forth a collection that is unlike his past chapbooks yet immediately recognizable as Luis.
In the last year, Luis has spent much time studying the work of Neruda, Valery, Hikmet, and Vallejo, and the quiet authority and lyrical richness of their work—-never forced, never false, never pretentious—has complemented Luis’s strengths. He’s never been in better form.
The title poem, which opens the collection, starts off with almost cliched images of spring and birds, but soon after, once we’ve put down our guard as readers, the whole thing goes horribly wrong and we realize we are in the head of the ultimate unreliable narrator, as one would find in the works of Poe. Yet this speaker is, in his own way, somewhat heroic, facing a struggle, and despite it all, he is “still human.” As we need to remind ourselves from time to time that we all are.
The drudgery of the daily work world, of the mind-numbing American society and the soul-crushing world of L.A., are balanced with the positivity of a man who has seen the void and returned to tell about it. There’s no cheap irony or un-earned cynicism in the works of Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal. But there’s always a beautiful lyric quality, an effortless flow, a hallucinatory clarity, a quiet authority that pulls the reader in, a calm in the center of the storm. I never thought I’d encounter any artist who could merge aspects of David Lynch’s and Frank Capra’s worldviews, but the truly significant artists have always embraced and transcended opposites, haven’t they.
8 new poems from Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal. Only $4 postpaid in the US, and $5 overseas. An edition of 49 hand-numbered copies, 20 of which are already gone. Act now.
Luis’s previous chapbooks for KSE are
WITHOUT PEACE (KSE #59)
KEEPERS OF SILENCE (KSE #82)
NEXT EXIT: SEVEN (w/ Ronald Baatz, KSE #100)
and GARDEN OF ROCKS (KSE #103), all of which are sold out and out of print.
He was also featured in the KSE LAST POEMS anthology (KSE #115), which is still available as of this writing.
Our other recent new release (besides VENETIAN SAGE) is A. J. Kaufmann’s SATORI IN BERLIN, which I’ll try to write about soon. Why not pick up ALMOST HUMAN, SATORI IN BERLIN, and VENETIAN SAGE in our 3-for-$10 deal (US addresses only).
The next six weeks will see new collections from two Californians, JACK HENRY with EMPTY HOUSES, and MICHAEL LAYNE HEATH with GREY RAGE (DYED). Stay tuned…